GIPHY Artist Spotlight: Juno Calypso's Glamorama GIF Drama

GIPHY Artist Spotlight: Juno Calypso's Glamorama GIF Drama

By Michael Worthy

Seeing as how the GIF has become an integral part of modern communication, PAPER is teaming up with our friends at GIPHY Arts to spotlight up-and-coming artists who are taking the medium to the next level. This week, we have Juno Calypso's Lynchian loop creations.

Juno Calypso is a multidisciplinary artist based out of London primarily working in video self-portraiture. While portraying her character Joyce, Calypso explores the darkness and anxiety lurking below the rituals of feminine beauty and glamour.

From the mundanity of 9-5 cubicle life, to moldering couples-only resorts and honeymoon suites, Calypso situates Joyce in the center of an uneasy facade. As she preens and prods herself, we see a lonely figure precariously posed in the center of a Lynchian tableau: forever on the edge of collapsing under manicured sensuality.

Calypso herself admits that the process of becoming and capturing her character can be like "injecting high grade anxiety directly into my body" and that "spending seven nights alone in a crumbling honeymoon hotel can definitely make you feel like a freak of the week" but that the resulting work justifies the angst.

But the mask that Joyce wears is as much a creation of the character as Calypso herself. No matter what situation she's in, Joyce moves with a stilted, rehearsed gait – no imperfection going unnoticed by her critical eye.

This self-voyeurism is emphasized in Calypso's tendency to position her character in front of a mirror or an acknowledged camera. She allows the viewer to see cultural tropes and beauty norms refracted in her reflection. We can see the melodrama of Pedro Almodóvar and the melancholy of Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is?" hidden just behind Joyce's gaze.

Of her character, Calypso says, "I think she appeals to the cynic in a lot of us. The boredom, exhaustion, frustration and disappointment - not only experienced in daily life, but also in those events that we expected to find huge joy in, yet for some reason feel nothing."

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